Urban Cinefile
"I have to remind myself day to day that I was never able to have just one of anything. "  -Samuel L. Jackson
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday, December 16, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

PUSHING TIN

SYNOPSIS:
Nick Falzone (John Cusack) is a control freak. An air traffic control freak, who 'pushes tin' at a chaotic New York facility covering the finite airspace above Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports. He believes he is the best, or at least until the unorthodox, laid-back cowboy Russell Bell (Billy Bob Thornton) arrives and rocks his comfort zone. Nick's wife Connie (Cate Blanchett) finds Bell 'interesting'; Nick finds Russell's young sex-pot wife Mary (Angelina Jolie) irresistible. Nick and Russell collide in all things competitive, from work to their wives.

"Cool, thrilling, dangerous and devastating, Pushing Tin is a ride on the rollercoaster of emotions. It looks like a lot of fun - a bunch of raucous guys and gals sitting around, organising blips on a large computer screen. But don't let that fool you, air traffic controllers are some of the highest strung and most uptight people known, whose pressure cooker work devours their lives and becomes a dangerous obsession. And control is what it is all about. Their rowdy demeanor disguises the weight of responsibility of the job: those cute blips on the screen each represent planes with hundreds of people onboard. On this original backdrop, Pushing Tin takes us on an emotional journey into a manic, all consuming world that pits together two loose canons whose egos collide. The witty, insightful script together with Mike Newell's assured direction poignantly capture the complexity of these otherwise ordinary men, who live in identical suburban houses. John Cusack is terrific as Nick, whose competitive nature and insecurity reach breaking point; Billy Bob Thornton's Zen cowboy Russell is complex, understated and belies a volcano on the brink. The women are the catalysts - and both Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie are superb. Blanchett amazes as a gutsy, down to earth, New Jersey housewife, showcasing her extraordinary broad and versatile range. Jolie plays the sex bombshell as naturally as flowers bloom, with a delightful, seductive vulnerability. Witty and original, Pushing Tin is about being in control, losing touch with reality and the devil that is temptation. Take the ride - flying will never be the same again!"
Louise Keller

"If Pushing Tin accurately portrays air traffic controllers as a species, I'll never fly again. If it doesn't, I'll never know. So I'm grounded. Anyway, the film is entertaining and energetic, even if sometimes contrived and overstated. And there are plenty of upsides. It is not a techno toy film, rather concentrating on the mental and emotional aspects of the people involved, seeing private lives through their juxtaposition with their stressful work. But the relationships are the core. Effective and amusing, the film stops short of being great only because its dramatic elements are compromised for effect and humour - although it's also clever at mixing drama with comedy. The acting is marvellous. When Cate Blanchette first appears on screen, it is close to breathtaking for its surprise in how she looks. Surviving the shock, audiences will revel in her wonderful characterisation, at once intimately detailed and yet effortlessly larger than life, without losing credibility. John Cusack, in a vaguely familiar role, manages to add something new to his work, and Billy Bob Thornton again confirms his prowess as a charter actor of the highest order, complex, compelling, convincing and conniving all in one smoothly oiled performance. And Angelina Jolie is a welcome fourth piece of the romantic jigsaw. To its credit, the film is edgy as well as entertaining, and if it weren't for some schmaltz and pat endings, it would also be bravura and brilliant."
Andrew L. Urban

"When we board a plane, we like to know we're in safe hands: from the mechanics, through the pilot, to the air traffic controllers who will get us safely back on terra firma. Similarly, when we hand over our hard earned cash to enter a cinema, though the stakes are a tad less, we like to know we'll be looked after. Rest assured. We're in excellent hands in this examination of confidence and mental stability. The performances are masterful from the four leading players. John Cusack gives a perfectly judged portrayal of the central character whose being is slowly dismantled, thread by thread. Playing beautifully against this is Billy Bob Thornton as the laconic, off centre antagonist who turns his world upside down. The character work of Cate Blanchett as Cusack's very ordinary New York suburban wife (as far from Elizabeth as could be imagined) and Angelina Jolie as Thornton's seriously unstable sex bomb partner contribute further to this strong ensemble piece. The script of Glen and Les Charles (television's Taxi and Cheers) gives these actors plenty to work with. The dialogue is anything but cliched, a trap so easy to fall into when dealing with such a pressured macho world. The structure of the script follows traditional lines but is full of well observed moments and wonderful flights of fancy. It has a couple of faults: the major crisis point of the film is extremely contrived, and the ending a little cute. But it remains one Hollywood's more original efforts in recent years. Bringing it all together is British director, Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) who clearly knows his way around a comedy drama of human fragility. Pushing Tin is solid entertainment."
Lee Gough

Email this article

__________________

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

__________________

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

PUSHING TIN (M15+)
(US)

CAST: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Jake Weber, Vicki Lewis

DIRECTOR: Mike Newell

PRODUCER: Art Linson

SCRIPT: Glen Charles & Les Charles

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gale Tattersall

EDITOR: Jon Gregory

MUSIC: Anne Dudley

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bruno Rubeo

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: July 22, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: February 16, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017